Boston, MA – Powered by senior forward Zach Solow‘s four points and backstopped by sophomore Connor Murphy‘s first NCAA shutout, the Northeastern Huskies routed the New Hampshire Wildcats 7-0 at historic Matthews Arena. Murphy had 37 saves to earn him and the Huskies the sixth win of the season. The Huskies’ special teams were the catalyst through the first two periods. Northeastern improved to 6-3-2 while UNH dropped to 3-5-1 in Hockey East action.
UNH came out sluggish and weathered the early NU pressure. Huskies defenseman James Davenport was called for Interference at 9:55, giving the Wildcats the first power play.
However, it was the Huskies who jumped out to the 1-0 lead. A two-on-one short-handed goal by Solow just eleven seconds into the penalty kill kicked open the scoring. Solow beat senior goaltender Mike Robinson (15 saves) five-hole for his fifth of the season. Grant Jozefek was credited with the assist.
The Huskies penalty kill limited UNH to outside pressure during back to back power plays at 5:00 and 8:26. When it was the Huskies’ chance on the man advantage, they made it count. Wildcats Defenseman Nikolai Jenson was whistled for Hooking at 13:09. Senior Jordan Harris made it 2-0 Northeastern when he buried a slap shot from the blue line at 14:26. Solow and Jozefek assisted Harris’ sixth of the year.
UNH’s Charlie Kelleher went to the box at 18:02 for Hooking. Once again, the Huskies made New Hampshire pay. Jozefek made it 3-0 at 19:34 when he tapped in a Sam Colangelo pass at the side of the Wildcats net. Colangelo and Solow notched the assists.
Despite the score, UNH was outshooting the Huskies 24-17 after two periods.
After the first six minutes in the third period, the wheels just fell off for the visitors. Freshman Gunnarwolfe Fontaine made it 4-0 Huskies at 6:27. Fontaine’s fourth goal of the year came when he fired home a rebound inside the right circle. Jayden Struble and Dylan Jackson assisted.
Robinson was pulled after Solow made it 5-0 at 7:28. The 5′-9″ captain beat Robinson with a snapshot from the right face-off dot for his second of the night. Defenseman Tyler Spott assisted on the goal that ended Robinson’s night.
Junior goalie Ty Taylor came out in relief and gave up two goals in fifteen seconds in a tough situation. Freshman Ty Jackson (6) at 11:32 from Julian Kislin and Fontaine. Jackson banged home a loose puck in front of Taylor, who made the initial save but couldn’t hold on to the puck.
At 11:47, Struble (2) followed up with a snapshot from the bottom of the left circle that just glanced off Taylor and into the UNH net. Marco Bozzo and Murphy assisted.
“Good hockey team over there, a better team than us right now,” said UNH coach Mike Souza. “They played well tonight. We didn’t. And we paid the price for it.”
“At the end of the day, we have to (put the game behind them) because we turn around and play again on Friday,” said Souza. “Which is a good thing about the way the games are coming for us right now.”
Souza added that the Wildcats would learn from tonight’s loss.
NU Head Coach Jim Madigan was absent from the game due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols. Associate Head Coach Jerry Keefe took on head coaching duties in his absence.
“It was a great effort. I thought we had tremendous leadership tonight,” said Keefe. “Obviously, this is a different year, and things are moving around, coach Madigan not being around, I thought we needed our older guys to step up, and they did.”
“When the game was 2-0, we got a little loose there and took a couple of penalties,” said Keefe about Murphy’s night in goal. “He made some key saves at the right time for us tonight. Being on the bench tonight, hearing the guys and how much they wanted that shutout for him speaks volumes about what they think about him. I was really happy for him. He deserved it. He played really well tonight.”
The Wildcats have a weekend home and home against UConn. Friday afternoon in Storrs, CT at 3:00 pm and Saturday in Durham, NH at 5:00 pm. The Huskies will have a home and home with Boston College. Friday at BC and Saturday at Matthews Arena, both games at 7:00 pm.